Deputy hit by car directing traffic at Midlands elementary school, sheriff says

A deputy has been hospitalized after she was hit by a car while directing traffic in front of a Midlands elementary school Thursday morning, the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office said.

The crash happened at about 7:15 a.m. at Lugoff Elementary School, which is in Kershaw County, according to South Carolina Highway Patrol.

The deputy was identified by the sheriff’s office as Chelsea Cockrell, a school resource officer.

She had her blue lights on and was wearing her bright yellow reflective jacket when she was struck by a vehicle that witnesses said was going about 40 mph, the sheriff’s office said in a news release.

The driver stopped after the crash, but admitted to being distracted by his cellphone when he hit the deputy, according to the release.

The driver of a 1997 Toyota SUV was identified as John Mitchell Carns, and he has been charged with driving too fast for conditions and texting while driving, Master Trooper David Jones said in an interview with The State.

Both charges against the Ridgeway man are misdemeanors, and the maximum penalty would be a fine and the possibility of 30 days in jail.

The deputy was alert and talking when she was taken to a hospital in Columbia, the sheriff’s office said.

Cockrell suffered serious injuries in the school zone crash, according to Jones.

Sheriff Lee Boan said Cockrell was doing well and was released from the hospital, in a Facebook message posted around noon.

The post included a photo of a smiling Cockrell giving a thumbs up from the hospital.

The collision is being investigated by the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

This is a developing story, check back for updates.

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Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State focused on breaking news, public safety and trending news. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.